Mr Yechury, along with Karat, was instrumental in creating an impregnable leftist bastion at the JNU.
Hyderabad: Cricket-lover Sitaram Yechury on Sunday hit the ball right out of the park, ensuring a neat victory for his team at the 22nd congress of the CPI(M).
The party’s general secretary, once a keen batsman, won the match at the party’s mega meet here, successfully pushing what has been called the Yechury line and being re-elected to the post for the second time.
His position that the marginalised Marxist party — which now rules only in one state and has a mere 14 members in Parliament — should have an “understanding” with the Congress elbowed out his predecessor Prakash Karat’s line that the CPI(M) had to steer clear of the centrist party.
Mr Karat’s position was supported by the party’s central committee, but Mr Yechury had the backing of the majority of delegates, who batted for the 65-year-old leader.
But then Madras-born, Telugu-speaking Yechury has often been described as the true heir to the coalition-building legacy of former general secretary Harkishan Singh Surjeet. Like Surjeet, Mr Yechury has maintained ties with leaders in opposition parties, including Congress’s former chief Sonia Gandhi.
Fond of Hindi film songs and fluent in several languages, including Bengali, Mr Yechury came to Delhi from Hyderabad when he was in his final year in school — and ended up topping the board in the 11th standard school-leaving examination.
Like Mr Karat, Mr Yechury excelled in academics. He studied economics and earned a first class in St. Stephen’s College, Delhi, and later in his MA at the Left academic citadel, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), where he was also elected president of the students’ union. Old JNU colleagues recall that he had enrolled himself for a Ph.D. In Economics in the university, but could not continue after he was detained during the Emergency in 1975 and went underground.
Mr Yechury, along with Karat, was instrumental in creating an impregnable leftist bastion at the JNU. He was also the tennis captain in the varsity, and a batsman in the university team.
In 1978, he was elected joint secretary of the Students’ Federation of India (SFI).